Browse the Plays
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Tags: Charlotte Delbo
This play is based on Charlotte Delbo’s trilogy of the same title and set in the third volume, “The Measure of Our Days.” Twenty years after liberation, a group of former French political prisoners, all women, hold a reunion in Paris where they discuss their shattered post-concentration camp lives. A chorus speaks to the audience on several occasions and flashbacks to Auschwitz, drawn from the first two volumes of the trilogy, demonstrate the tender care the women offer one another during moments of great suffering. Other flashbacks show how these starving and sick concentration camp inmates read poetry and performed theater as sustaining acts of defiant resistance to the massive Nazi system of dehumanization. The play had its first performance reading, directed by Nancy Simon, on January 20, 2016, in the Gesa Power House Theatre in Walla Walla, WA.
Directed by Gail Humphries Mardirosian with music composed by Tom Andes, Traces in the Wind centers on three women—Dutch, French, and Czech—who survived the Holocaust: Rosalina Glaser, Charlotte Delbo, and Eva Kavanova. These women were betrayed, humiliated, deprived of normal living conditions, incarcerated, and experienced the depth of psychological and physical abuse, and yet survived. Each of them personified a different perspective: Rosalina Glaser resonated hope, joy and optimism; Charlotte Delbo embodied deep reflection and anger after her survival; and Eva Kavanova personified intellectual determination. Director Mardirosian said the following about the women, “It seemed as if each of these exceptional women had used their art as some form of sustenance and it gave them some renewal, at least for the soul.” Through the staged reading, Mardirosian hopes to bring their voices to life to generate reflection, connections to contemporary situations, and ultimately a call for action in current situations that challenge social justice and precipitate violence against women.
The play recounts the experiences of two women: Charlotte Delbo and Charlotte Salomon, who were both sent to Auschwitz during World War II. Charlotte Salomon was a young German Jewish artist who fled to France following the outbreak of war, where she created over one thousand paintings documenting her exile. She was eventually captured and died in Auschwitz at age 26. Charlotte Delbo was a French Christian writer well known for her memoirs and plays documenting her time as a prisoner in Auschwitz. While both Charlottes were imprisoned in the camp, they ultimately did not share the same fate and only Delbo survived.